The Best Reissues Of 2017-Part 7.

Stoneground-Stoneground and Stoneground 3. 

Label: BGO Records.

When Stoneground released their eponymous debut in early 1970, critics were won over by a fusion of blues, folk, pop, psychedelia, rock and soul. Seamlessly, Stoneground switch between and fuse musical genres and influences. To do this they deployed seven separate vocalists on genre-melting album where Stoneground showcase their considerable skills. Despite the quality of music and glowing reviews, Stoneground failed commercially. By late-1972, Stoneground was still trying to make a breakthrough  and released Stoneground 3, which featured much more radio friendly songs. Sadly, commercial success eluded the album and Stoneground split-up in 1973 leaving a triumvirate of albums of free wheeling eclectic music. 

Sun Ra and His Arkestra-Pictures Of Infinity.

Label: Grey Scale.

By 1971, Sun Ra and His Arkestra had signed to Black Lion Records and had just released Pictures Of Infinity. Critics hailed the album another groundbreaking release that featured new compositions and old favourites that are reinvented during a spellbinding performance where Sun Ra and His Arkestra play with speed, power, and fluidity Always though, the Arkestra display their usual inventiveness as they improvise and take tracks in new and unexpected directions. Sometimes, the playing is intricate, before becoming sombre and ruminative on an album which features the Arkestra at the peak of their powers on this innovative and memorable album of space-age free jazz.

Sun Ra And His Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra-Discipline 27-||-Vinyl.

Label: Strut.

On Record Store Day 2017, Sun Ra And His Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra’s 1973 album Discipline 27-II received its first official reissue since its released in 1973. Discipline 27-II was a mixture of music and drama, where Sun Ra And His Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra married elements of avant-garde and free jazz. To do this, Sun Ra’s array of synths and keyboards were augmented by the horns and rhythm sections and a quartet of “space ethnic voices”. They were joined by Sun Ra, who added “vocal dramatising.” All this was part of an album that was variously melodic, ambitious, innovative and which also swung.

Sun Ra and His Astra Infinity Arkestra-My Brother The Wind Volume 1

Label: Cosmic Myth Records.

When My Brother The Wind Vol. 1 was released in 1970, it was one of most free performances by Sun Ra and His Astro Infinity Arkestra. On the title-track drum accompany Sun Ra’s two Mini Moogs unleash a myriad of otherworldly sounds. Then on Intergalaxtic II it sounds as if Sun Ra and the Arkestra had dropped acid during this lysergic freakout. The album closer The Code Of Interdependence finds Sun Ra showing what’s possible with just two Mini Moogs. This left other musicians shaking their heads, and wondering how they could come close to replicating this synth masterclass, on an album where musical boundaries are pushed to their limits and beyond.

Sun Ra and His Myth Science Arkestra-Fate In A Pleasant Mood.

Label:Grey Scale.

Despite its relative brevity, Fate In A Pleasant Mood which was recorded in 1960 and released in 1965, still sound ahead of its time and innovative. Sun Ra And His Myth Science Arkestra were among the finest purveyors of free jazz, and tracks like The Others In Their World, Space Mates and Lights On A Satellite were proof of this. They’re part of Fate In A Pleasant Mood, which is an album that somehow, not only manages to be accessible and innovative, but has stood the test of time.

Sun Ra and His Myth Science Orchestra-When Angles Speak Of Love.

Label: Grey Scale.

Some critics upon hearing When Angles Speak Of Love called it: “a bizarre record.” Little did these critics know that they had “dissed” a truly groundbreaking album that moves free jazz in a new direction. To do this, they used increasingly shrill notes, layered rhythms and effects including echo reverb. During Next Stop Mars, which is the centrepiece and highlight of the album, a space chant sets the scene for Marshall Allen and John Gilmore braying, growling and shrill horns as they push them to the limits. Meanwhile, Sun Ra’s keyboards underpin the arrangement, during Next Stop Mars, which was part of genre-melting album of groundbreaking album. 

Tapiman-Hard Drive

Label: Mental Experience.

Nowadays, copies of Tapiman’s 1971 debut album Hard Drive change hands for over £800. That is no surprise it was their finest hour. Hard Drive features the original lineup of Tapiman at their hard rocking best. Seamlessly, they switch between, and combine, hard rock, proto-metal and even a hint of psychedelia and the Canterbury sound on Hard Drive. The result is a cult classic that rock fans everywhere will appreciate and enjoy.  

The Association-Insight Out-Vinyl.

Label: Rhino.

In June 1967, The Association released their third album Insight Out, which featured the number one hit Windy and Never My Love which reached number two on the US Billboard 100. Buoyed the success of the singles Insight Out with is mixture sunshine pop and psychedelia, reached number eight in the US Billboard 200. Nowadays, Insight Out is regarded as a classic album which was The Association’s finest hour. 

The Beatles-Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Label: EMI.

When The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, critics and cultural commentators immediately realised the importance of this groundbreaking psychedelic concept album. Here was an album that managed to bridge the previous gaping gap between popular music and art. It was also an album that was representative of the underlying counterculture, and immediately became a classic album that won four Grammy Awards. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is also an album that belongs in every record collection.

The Beau Brummels-Triangle-Vinyl.

Label: Rhino.

When The Beau Brummels released their fourth album Triangle in July 1967, it marked the debut of vocalist Sal Valentino and guitarist Ron Elliott. Critics were won over by Ron Elliott songs and even went as far as to compare Sal Valentino’s vocals to Bob Dylan’s. Despite these comparisons, Triangle stalled at 167 in the US Billboard 200, but nowadays, is regarded as a psychedelic cult classic thanks to songs like Magic Hollow.

The Orchestra Soledad-Vamonos/Let’s Go!-Vinyl.

Label: BBE.

When The Orchestra Soledad released their debut album Vamonos/Let’s Go! in late-1970, they were a popular band who played to packed houses that featured not just the Latino community in Brooklyn, but the wider community. Despite their popularity locally, The Orchestra Soledad’s album Vamonos/Let’s Go! failed to find an audience. After that, Vamonos/Let’s Go! became just another musical curio that sometimes, crate diggers in New York stumbled across in record shops and local flea markets. Eventually, it became a sought after rarity that changed hands for upwards of $600. No wonder, given the irresistible, joyous, dance-floor friendly, beautiful and soulful of the Brooklyn based salsa band.

The Zodiac-Cosmic Sounds-Vinyl.

Label: Rhino.

When The Zodiac’s Cosmic Sounds was released in January 1967, very few people realised the importance of this groundbreaking concept album which featured twelve tracks that were described as psychedelic mood music. It featured a myriad of exotic and electronic instruments and spoken prose that came courtesy of Cyrus Faryar. Sadly, it failed to find an audience and it was only later that record buyers and critics realised that Cosmic Sounds was a psychedelic cult classic. However, it’s a psychedelic cult classic, that: “must be played in the dark.”

Thos. Rapp and Pearls Before Swine-City Of Gold and…Beautiful Lies That You Could Live In.

Label: BGO Records.

When City Of Gold was released in April 1971, it was the first album to be credited to Tom Rapp and Pearls Before Swine. That was only fair as he was the only original member of Pearls Before Swine left. By then, Tom Rapp had come of age as a singer-songwriter, and blossomed on City Of Gold. Despite delivering series of breathtaking performances on City Of Gold, it failed commercially. Seven months later, Pearls Before Swine released their sixth album Beautiful Lies That You Could Live which was their finest hour. Despite that, the album failed commercially and Tom Rapp embarked upon a solo career, while Pearls Before Swine remained one of music’s best kept secrets.

Vanilla Fudge-Vanilla Fudge-Vinyl.

Label: Rhino 

When Vanilla Fudge released their eponymous debut album at the height of the Summer Of Love in 1967, it reached number six in the US Billboard 200. This was no surprise as Vanilla Fudge was a groundbreaking album. Vanilla Fudge fused psychedelia, rock and blues rock on an album that features half-speed covers and three short original instrumental compositions. Nowadays, Vanilla Fudge s considered a classic album and one of the most innovative albums released during 1967.

Voigt/465-Slights Still Unspoken.

Label: Mental Experience.

By the time Voigt/465 released their debut album Slights Still Unspoken in September 1979, things hadn’t been easy for the band. Still, they managed to record an album where they drew inspiration from a variety of bands, whilst fusing elements of art rock, avant-rock, electronica, improv, industrial, Krautrock, noise, post-punk, psychedelia and punk.  Voigt/465 play with power, intensity and inventiveness, and sometimes with freedom and fluidity. Sometimes, they experiment and improvise as they take the listener on a voyage of discovery. Other times, they play as if their very lives depended upon it, during what was Voigt/465’s only album. However, what an album it was.


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